The Error of Truancy Rates

“Truancy rate reaches record level” declares the BBC education website.

Extreme Hoodies

We are told that, “The truancy statistics for the first two terms of the last school year show 1.03% of school sessions were missed without permission, up from 0.97%” and “show the rate of unauthorised absences as running higher than any annual figure since 1994, when figures were first published.”

Predictably, a photo of behooded boys on bikes hanging out is included but then later on in the article mention is made of the ‘real’ reason behind the increase.

This is attributed to a “tougher line”. But this “tougher line” is not working then, is it? The point of this “line” is to reduce truancy rates. However, as anyone can see, truancy rates are going UP – not down.

The Tories blame poor behavior and low achievement but it is unclear how the too are causally related. Are they the cause or effect?

We, unsurprisingly, argue not for criminalisation of truants but for alternatives to school including work-based placements for those who want them and parent-pupil lessons. Why put young people through school when they’d be happier learning a trade or receiving specialist support elsewhere? The very young who miss school should also be eligible for specialist support. After literacy and numeracy is achieved then why keep pupils where they do won’t to be?

Time for a rethink.


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